Category Archives: Love

Seasons of Love

I’ve had this song stuck in my head since a friend mentioned it on Facebook the other day. She was marking the occasion of her son’s first birthday, but as I relax in one of the most peaceful places on Route 66, awaiting the start of another year, I find myself captivated by the metaphysical implications of the lyrics, which ask, in part:

How do you measure a year?
In daylights? In sunsets?
In midnights? In cups of coffee?
In inches? In miles?
In laughter and strife?
In five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes?
How do you measure a year in the life? …

In the truths that she learned
Or the times that he cried?
In the bridges he burned
Or the way that she died? …

How about love?
How about love?

Facebook is buzzing tonight with chatter about New Year’s resolutions, most of them involving things like eating less or exercising more or breaking this or that habit. Longtime readers of this blog know I’m not generally a fan of New Year’s resolutions, because they tend to be unrealistic and stressful at best and shallow and self-serving at worst.

That being said, as I stand on the cusp of a new year, it strikes me that the best way to spend the coming 525,600 527,040 minutes (Leap Year, remember?) is to measure my life — consciously and consistently — in expressions of Love.

In the end, time spent on any other purpose is time wasted.

How about Love?


Christmas morning

Here are a few images from the Land of Cute, a.k.a. my mom’s living room on Christmas morning:

Hazel unwraps her new feather boa.
Ashley takes a picture as Hazel opens her presents.
As usual, an empty box proves more interesting than expensive toys.
She wore those shades all day. Note the sweet bee plate. I bought a set of those for the kids the same day I bought my purse.
Thoroughly enjoying Aunt Grace's birthday cake.
Ollie also enjoyed the cake -- with an M&Ms chaser.
Ollie does his best impression of Macaulay Culkin in the "Home Alone" movies.
Ollie and Jamie check out their new presents: Dinosaur puzzles and Fraggles.
Jamie, the man of a thousand faces, has mastered a new one: the Shatner eyebrow.
The boys decorated the Dreamcar for me before we left town.
Ollie s-t-r-e-e-e-e-e-t-c-h-e-s to reach a spot.

Hope you had a good Christmas, wherever you are.

I spent this morning enjoying one of my presents: Mom and Dad gave me some cash for Christmas, which I used to buy a new pair of running shoes. A refitting at Fleet Feet revealed what I’d begun to suspect several weeks ago: After eight years in motion-control shoes, I’ve finally quit overpronating, so it was time to switch to something a little more neutral. If the new shoes — New Balance WS870s — are as comfortable after 26.2 miles as they were after a mile and a half, I won’t have much excuse to blow off OKC this spring.

Maybe I can find time to test-drive them in New Mexico this weekend….


Hope and joy

Today was one of the best days I’ve had in a long time.

I spent the morning at a great little coffeehouse called Brews and Bytes, which opened this summer about half a block off Route 66 in Sapulpa. While I was there, I scored myself a fun new project: In the not-too-distant future, I will begin painting a series of placemat-sized Route 66 postcards all over the bathroom walls. This is an excellent deal for everyone concerned, as the coffeehouse will get a one-of-a-kind paint job, while I will get all the free coffee and Italian cream sodas I care to suck down. In the immortal words of Charlie Sheen: Winning!

I came back to Tulsa to put in a few hours at the annual neighborhood block party at school. Swayze asked all the teachers to show up and promote the activities we sponsor, so I enlisted Ron to help me set up a booth for our new GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance), which was the product of a former student’s activism project last semester. We had a great turnout, and the kids were very impressed with Ron’s willingness to spend the entire afternoon hanging out, joking with them, running errands, and keeping track of various and sundry backpacks, papers, purses, keys, water bottles, half-finished sandwiches, and whatever else proved too inconvenient for a busy teenager to carry around while dashing from one activity to another.

Scoring a fun volunteer project and then spending a pretty afternoon outside with my kids and my husband would have been reason enough to smile, but the icing on the cake was the overwhelmingly positive response we got from the public. I’d been braced for some raised eyebrows and an ugly comment or two, but I didn’t hear a single negative comment all afternoon, and several people stopped to tell us how happy they were to see us out there and to find out that our school had started a GSA.

I could not be more proud of my kids, my husband, or my neighborhood. All of them give me immense hope for the future.

Hope your Saturday was as beautiful as mine.



I just remembered that I never got around to posting these photos I shot on my trip to visit my family in July. Oops. Better late than never, right?

The highlight of the trip was the day Mom and Dad rented a big van, loaded up all three of us kids and all the grandkids, and took us to St. Louis to have lunch at Union Station and play at the City Museum, which is basically what you’d get if I had an unlimited budget, a seven-story building, and altogether too much time on my hands.

Jamie and Hazel feed the fish in the koi pond at Union Station in St. Louis while my dad looks on.
The kids really enjoyed feeding the fish.
I have no idea how these fish are not morbidly obese.
Jamie and Ollie visit with the trained circus dogs at the City Museum.
Protip: The iPad cat video game app will keep a toddler busy for a good 20 minutes.
Hazel explores a playhouse at the City Museum.
Our friend Kayci and her son, Gruvis, met us at the museum.
Mom entertains Ollie while Grace and Kayci chat with Gruvis.
Dad inexplicably let this lady talk him into letting her paint his head.
Here's her glittery, fire-breathing handiwork.
Jamie totally dug the skate-free indoor skatepark.
Ollie thought it was hilarious when Geoff pushed his stroller over the ramps.
Watching a performance by a pack of trained dogs, Ollie squealed and clapped and waved. Somewhere, Mom has a picture of his namesake uncle at this age, reacting in precisely the same way to a herd of trained elephants at a circus.
I'm totally making one of these for the kitchen.
I keep saying this, but one day, I really WILL cover my ceiling with chicken wire and strips of shredded fabric.
When I get around to redoing the bathroom, I am stealing this idea.
This is the roof of the City Museum. Love the giant praying mantis.
I have GOT to make one of these for my classroom ... except I think it's going to have the quadratic formula or something on it instead of "art city."
I want a giant turtle like this in my living room.

Hope your summer was full of love and inspiration.


Munchkin Land

As promised, here are some of the photos from my trip to Illinois:

All he wants is a proper cup of coffee: Jamie enjoys a cup of decaf for breakfast on Easter morning. In case you are wondering: He takes his coffee black.

Jamie and Hazel dyed Easter eggs at Grandma’s house. Here, Jamie and Grandma put eggs into the cups.

Hazel didn’t really understand what was going on, but she looked adorable in her apron. My earliest memory of that apron involves baking cookies with Mom in 1978.

Rugrat-powered Easter egg assembly line. Hazel is obviously concentrating very hard on that egg carton.

Nom, nom, nommity … what? You’re supposed to dye them first?

Jamie was happy to show off his dye-covered fingers. Hazel? Not so much:

Ollie is Jamie’s baby brother. He’s a very laid-back sort of baby.

Grandma and Grandpa put a swingset in their front yard to entertain the kids. Here, Ollie is chillaxin’ in the baby swing.

Jamie likes to go “super fast” on the glider.

Going super fast clearly requires a lot of effort.

I have a few other pictures from the trip, but I’ll save them for another post.



I’ve been playing with the idea of making a Bob Waldmire-style postcard of Bob Waldmire for a couple of days, but I didn’t have time to fool with it until this morning.

Pen and ink isn’t really my medium, but somehow it just didn’t seem right to render Bob in pencil, so I muddled through as best I could. I’ll probably dink with this a little bit more, but I’m letting it rest for the moment, because the big challenge with pen and ink is knowing when to quit: One stroke too few, and something’s missing; one stroke too many, and you’ve ruined the whole project.

This probably would have been easier if Walter hadn’t been trying to help the whole time, but somehow I managed to get it done without any spilled ink or kitty footprints all over my office.

Michael suggested I post the finished product online. Once I’m happy with it (or simply resigned to the fact that my perfectionist self is never going to be completely happy with anything I’ve drawn), I’ll probably design a back for it and have a few copies printed up to mail out to deserving roadies.

Next up today: Christmas cards. Still haven’t done those. *Sigh*



Apologies for my recent silence; I’ve been busy blogging over at my sister’s awesome site, the Red Kitchen Project, because she was busy having a baby. Jamie is now the proud big brother of Oliver Jacob Ritter, who arrived this morning at 8:09, weighing in an ounce shy of nine pounds.

I will be paying him a visit during Christmas break; stay tuned for photos.

If I am quieter than usual for a while, it’s probably because I’m in the kitchen, cooking up blog entries for the Red Kitchen. Grace’s readers are accustomed to five posts a week, and she was concerned they might get bored and wander off if she disappeared for a while, so I’m trying to keep them entertained while she recuperates.


Baby pictures

While I was taking pictures of my literature rack yesterday, I realized that I’d forgotten to post the photos I shot of Jamie and Hazel while I was in Illinois a couple of weeks ago.

I’d hate for you to miss out on your recommended daily allowance of Vitamin Cute, so here they are:


Jamie absolutely adores Hazel.


He’s trying to teach her all his rotten tricks — like shouting at the top of his lungs just to see whether anybody’s paying attention.


He’s even showing her how to react when someone else shouts too much.


Hazel, meanwhile, seems disinterested in the lesson. She is completely focused on her rubber duckie, which has LEDs inside that light up in random patterns when you touch the electronic contact points on the bottom.


Duckies are fun to chew on. Nom, nom, nommity — what? Are you lookin’ at me? Are YOU lookin’ at ME?


Happy family: Mom, Dad, Hazel, and cousin Jamie.

Babies are great therapy. 🙂

Hope you’re having a good Sunday afternoon, wherever you are.


Amish Paradise

Sorry for the prolonged silence. Let me ‘splain … no, there is too much. Let me sum up.

I left Tulsa on Friday afternoon with plans to pay Mom a surprise visit for Mother’s Day weekend. My sister called a couple of hours later to tell me a violent storm (either a rare inland hurricane or a meso cyclone, depending on which newspaper you read) had hit southern Illinois and knocked out power to most of the region, and I should head back home instead of carrying out my plans for a visit.

Being a Lehman’s catalog junkie and power outage veteran, I decided to ignore her advice and make myself useful. A few phone calls and several pit stops later, I had a carload of supplies and gadgets suitable for weathering an extended power outage.

Jamie summed up the situation about as well as anybody: “Trees fall down. Big mess!”

I didn’t have the Rebel with me on this trip (though if I’d known what was going on, I certainly would have grabbed it), but you can see a few pictures of the “big mess” here and here and here.

In spite of the mess, it was a nice trip. Maybe even nicer than usual, as there were no televisions or computers to distract anybody.



The day Ron picked up Scout’s ashes from the vet, he also stopped by the florist shop and picked up a graceful little flower arrangement to put on the table next to the little velvet bag from the crematory. 

I saved part the arrangement and hung it up to dry, thinking I would keep it to put in a shadowbox with a few of Scout’s things.

Apparently the dried flower fell down, because Riggy found it on the floor this evening and tore it into tiny pieces before I could stop him. I yelled at him, gave him a good scruff shake, and then suddenly burst into simultaneous laughter and tears as it occurred to me that Scout wouldn’t have been the least bit upset that Riggy had torn up her flowers; if anything, she would have been overcome with glee at the prospect of tearing something up and scattering it all over three rooms.

Life would be intolerably dull without a feisty little terrier to shake things up….